Skip to content
  1. Latest News

Cornell Chronicle: Incentivized product reviews: Positive to a fault?

It stands to reason that the more one is compensated for performing a task, the greater the incentive to do a good job and the better one feels about doing it. But what if the task is writing an objective review of a company or service? Does the compensation blur the lines of objectivity? Kaitlin Woolley ’12, assistant professor of marketing in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, wondered the same thing. Woolley found that offering direct compensation for posting written reviews results in a greater proportion of positive versus negative emotion across a variety of product and service experiences, which she tested using two natural language-processing software systems and human judges. Whether overly glowing reviews are always good for a company, however, is another question. Woolley is the lead author of “Incentives Increase Relative Positivity of Review Content and Enjoyment of Review Writing,” which published April 23 in the Journal of Marketing Research. Woolley’s co-author, Marissa Sharif, is an assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Read more at Cornell Chronicle.